Mother's 17-hour ordeal in search for missing sons

PHOTO: Facebook/Singapore Police Force

For more than 17 hours, Ms Gina Chua, 30, did not know where her two young sons were or if they were safe.

She searched for them frantically around the neighbourhood and was unable to sleep or work.

It all started when she was at a friend's birthday party on the night of March 8 and got a call from her former husband.

He had returned home from work to find his 68-year-old mother and sons, Nathaniel Wong, seven, and Nadolphus Wong, five, missing.

Ms Chua, a financial planner, told The New Paper when she heard the news, she panicked and was at a loss.

She said: "I had never felt that upset and scared before. I was thinking to myself that if anything happened to them, I would die."

On March 9, the police posted a statement on their Facebook page, appealing for information on the whereabouts of the three who were last seen at Block 171 Gangsa Road on March 8 at about 11pm.

They updated the post with news that the three had been found at around 4pm the same day.

Ms Chua, along with her family and friends, had spent hours looking for the boys and constantly checked with the police for updates.

She said the boys were taken out of their home by their grandmother after their grandparents had a heated argument.

Ms Chua said their grandmother took them to Changi Airport before checking into a hotel near Changi Village.

They then went to the Bugis area and checked into another hotel nearby. The police eventually found the trio at the Bugis hotel.

Ms Chua was afraid their grandmother would take the boys to Malaysia where she has family, as they had left with their passports.

She said while she was scared and angry initially, she does not blame their grandmother.

She said: "In that moment, her emotions were also running high, I can understand.

"She loves them very much and they love her. When things calm down, I won't keep them away."

She said while her younger son was probably unaware of what was happening, the older one was more affected.

She said: "The younger boy maybe thought it was a staycation or something. But his brother is more sensible. He might have been a bit more scared."

While the ordeal was daunting, Ms Chua said it showed her that Singaporeans could be kind and caring. The Facebook post she had put up appealing for information garnered several thousand shares.

She said: "I really did not expect so many people would reach out and show so much kindness. They were genuinely worried and concerned.

"I am really grateful and thankful to all my friends and other people who came forward to share the post or help look for my children.

"I was so relieved when we found them."

She added while there were some negative comments, she was not too bothered about them.

She said: "I am glad they were together when all this happened. They are close and will take care of each other."

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.